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RGO - Revista Gaúcha de Odontologia

On-line version ISSN 1981-8637


LIMA, Camilo Massa Ferreira; RODRIGUES, Luciane Lacerda Franco Rocha; TEIXEIRA, Marcelo Lucchesi  and  GUIMARAES, Antonio Sérgio. Variation of digital palpation pressure used in the clinical examination of TMJ disorders and orofacial pain. RGO, Rev. Gaúch. Odontol. [online]. 2014, vol.62, n.1, pp.19-24. ISSN 1981-8637.


The present research aims to evaluate the calibration of digital palpation pressure as well as to assess the inter-examiner variation and mean pressure used by a sample consisting of 56 professionals of the TMJ disorders and Orofacial Pain area.


Each participant was asked to press a digital balance to approach 1.0 kg and subsequently 0.5 kg without seeing the display, in order to obtain a blind data. The values of 1.0 kg and 0.5 kg are recommended by the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorder in the refined Axis I, the Physical Assessment. Participants were considered calibrated when they applied the correct pressure in at least 4 of the 5 measurement taken; within a 20% variation interval (pressures between 0.4 and 0.6 kg were acceptable for the reference value of 0.5 kg and between 0.8 and 1.2 kg for the reference value of 1.0kg). The t-student test was used to analyze data (p≤0.05).


70% of the sample was classified as non- calibrated for the 0.5 kg pressure while 57% were not calibrated for the 1.0 kg pressure. The mean inter-examiner variations, 0.3 kg for the pressure set at 0.5kg and 0.6 kg for the pressure set at 1.0 kg, were considered high.


The mean pressures applied by participants (0.7 kg for joint palpation and 1.4 kg for muscle palpation) were also considered high in comparison with those recommended by the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorder, but acceptable according to the tendency of applying higher values of 1.0 - 1.5 kg, as proven by recent study.

Keywords : Diagnosis; Palpation; Research; Temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome.

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